Because they cannot ban abortion outright, conservative politicians have tried to discourage it in heavy-handed and sometimes humiliating ways. Thirty-four states impose regulations specific to abortion providers; 35 require counseling, and 26 impose waiting periods. Eight states, including Virginia, now require women seeking abortions to have an ultrasound. But Indiana wants to top them all.
As A. Barton Hinkle reports, last week the health committee of the Indiana Senate approved a bill that would, among other things, require establishments dispensing pills such as RU-486 to meet the same construction standards as those performing surgical abortions. As the Indianapolis Star reported, "That requirement means the clinic must have operating and sterilization equipment along with widened hallways and doorways. And that, said Planned Parenthood of Indiana, likely means that its clinic in Lafayette will have to close." As elsewhere, the lawmakers backing the bill have tried to portray it as an effort to protect women's health. But that pose is pretty hard to sustain when you're demanding wider halls and doorways for handing out pills.